It’s early in the morning and I’m heading to work. As I go up the escalator at the Eastern Market metro a man says “good morning” to me and I say, “good morning” back. He then goes on to say, “I just want to tell you that you have the most beautiful ass I have ever seen.” I start walking up and he grabs me! I can’t believe it!! I just start walking faster and don’t turn around. When did good morning become an invitation for vulgar remarks and groping?
After this incident, I stopped responding to men when they say, “hi” or “good morning” on the street. Now, I get called a “bitch” for ignoring them.
Submitted by anonymous
If you have a story to share with us (include the cross streets if you can remember) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will automatically post them anonymously unless you tell us to use your name or initials.
One of the goals of Hollaback DC is to highlight the work activist are doing to raise awareness and end street harassment. Each month we will feature the work that activist are doing in DC and across the U.S.
Our first feature is on Nijla and Monique who have been working to film a documentary on street harassment. Back Up! is a ” feature length documentary that explores how women deal with this daily violence. It will especially look at how women are fighting back and defining their own personal and public spaces. The documentary adds to a bustling dialogue on gender and body politics, as it delves into women’s rights to exist freely in society.”
Please watch the official trailer now and stay tuned for our interview with Nijla and Monique later this month.
If you have any questions please contact PLEASE contact Nijla Mumin at Nijla1@gmail.com.
But, what really got our attention is that there were zero Metro reported cases of rape and a slight decrease in aggravated assaults. However, just few weeks ago, DC-based SANE nurses let us know that Metro and Park police do drop off rape victims. Does that mean that WMATA crime statistics don’t include rapes that happen outside the Metro station? When we called the Metro Transit Police Department to figure out these numbers and the definitions of the crimes, we were given the run around. Yeah, we know. A huge public agency not giving us a straight answer? You would never believe it.
To our dismay, the report highlights incidents between bus drivers and passengers, but not bus passenger to passenger reporting. And we know, through anecdotal evidence, that there is a lot of gender based public sexual harassment happening on our DC metro buses.
First, we want to define what we mean by gender based public sexual harassment:
Gender based sexual harassment occurs in a public space when one or more individuals (man or woman) accost another individual, based on their gender, as they go about their daily life. This can include vulgar remarks, heckling, insults, innuendo, stalking, leering, fondling, indecent exposure and other forms of public humiliation. Gender based public sexual harassment occurs on a continuum starting with words, stalking, and unwanted touching which can lead to more violent crimes like rape, assault, and murder.
Street harassment is wide and rampant in Washington, DC. Don’t believe us? Check out City Paper’s video on street harassment.
It happens on the bus, the Metro, on your way to work, or when you are enjoying a day out with your loved ones. It happens to women of all colors and creeds and to those who identify as LGBTQ. It can escalate into violence, it can happen in silence. However it happens, you have a right not to encounter it.
Share your stories of gender based sexual harassment by email us at dchollaback at gmail dot com. We automatically post stories anonymously unless you want us to use your name or initials.
Two weeks ago, I was standing outside a bar in Adams Morgan (18th street) on Saturday waiting for some friends. Its 2am in the morning and all I really want to do is go home. A few of my girlfriends are standing a few feet away from me when I am approached by a man.
Him: “I just want to tell you that you are the most beautiful girl I have seen all night”
I say “thanks” and start to walk away.
Him:“Don’t go, I want to talk to you” (As he grabs my hand)
At this point one of my girlfriends steps in and yells at him “Leave her alone. She doesn’t want to talk to you”.
Him: “Yes she does, she was enjoying talking to me.”
He then goes on a rant about all the “ice” and all the models he has.
Trying to help me, my friend tells him that I am here with my girlfriend and that I am defiantly not interested in him. This only adds fuel to the fire and he demands that I make out with my girlfriend to prove it. My friend yells at him again to leave me alone but he refuses to believe that I am actually not interested in him and continues to persist. Finally, we just leave and I think about how annoyed I am by the men of DC who continue to harass women in public spaces. Has this approach ever worked for a man and where does this behavior stem from?
Last summer, my friend and I were sitting in the park behind the Smithsonian museum (the one that looks like a castle). We were chatting, and she was feeding her 1 year old son who was in his stroller in front of us — we were on a bench. It was a hot day, so we were on one of the only benches that was in the shade and noticed a man come and sit down across from us in the blaring sun on a bench across from us, about 6 feet away. I thought it was strange because it was just so hot in the sun, I wondered why anyone would be sitting there. He looked as though he could have been a tourist with a nice camera and a sun hat. Then I noticed that he had a camera out on the bench in between his legs and was somewhat discretely taking pictures up our skirts. My friend and I quickly told him that he was disgusting, and moved the stroller between the man and us. He got up and left. But we were both really offended.
Another holler, you give another middle finger to that stranger, another vulgar name is hurled in your direction. Although living in DC has its perks, street harassment is something that most of us don’t sign up for on our daily routine to the Metro, the local grocery store, or to work. This reality is something we hope to capture on our blog, as well as highlighting local activists, different organizations, and events to combat street/gender-based public sexual harassment. Inspired by our sister blog, Holla Back NYC, we hope to create a community of concerned citizens working to end street harassment through a variety of different means.
To share your story, please send it to us at dchollaback at gmail dot com. We will post your story anonymously, unless you want your name (or initals). We also encourage you to take pictures/videos of your perpetrators in order to empower our stories and put faces to the harassment. Although don’t do this if your safety will be compromised.
We look forward to working with you and creating a community–a revolution, if you will–of folks ready and empowered to end street harassment in our Nation’s capital.